A team of two Cal Poly students and an alumnus won first place in the university’s 12th annual Innovation Quest competition for their business creation — a full-size hitch-mounted lift gate designed to hoist heavy objects into a pickup.
The team consisted of Justin Russo, a mechanical engineering major; Matt Kloss, who studies business administration; and Marty Affentranger, a graduate of the mechanical engineering program. They won the $15,000 Carson Chen Innovation Award.
Innovation Quest competition founded by alumni provides seed money to startups and an invitation to interview for the SLO HotHouse Summer Accelerator program.
In the HotHouse program, the innovators receive $10,000 to fund their startup, mentoring, workspace and business guidance.
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Since its inception, Cal Poly has awarded more than $300,000. Five student startups are splitting $45,000 this year.